This Post is Not About My Thesis

As I sat down to write my post this week, my mind naturally wandered to that big research project I’m completing alongside my fellow seniors. And yet, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find anything novel to say about it. A few hours of trial and error alerted me to a simple fact: It wasn’t necessarily that I couldn’t find something to write about my thesis; it’s that I didn’t want to. I felt like it’d be nice to imagine undergraduate research without the long list of thesis-related tasks clogging up my reminders.

Look at this room full of seniors who want to talk about their theses!

Still, my post needed to be written. So I came up with what I thought was a clever solution: collecting one-sentence descriptions of other seniors’ thesis topics, in order to grasp the variety of research on campus. That might’ve been an interesting post, but it’s not what I’m writing about here. Why? Well, would you be surprised to hear that other seniors are also avoiding thesis-related talk? It seems like many seniors are disillusioned with the whole research process.

Let’s give this widespread phenomenon a name: thesis fatigue. And let’s silently note that November’s thesis fatigue will probably pale in comparison to April’s. But, at the same time, it’s important to put fatigue in proper context. The gravity of a senior thesis should not cancel out seniors’ personal excitement about their topic of inquiry. In fact, to avoid talk about your thesis is to downplay all the work you’ve already done, and all the amazing work you’re going to do. I write this sentence for you as much as I write it for me!

You, dear reader, have already heard about my thesis twice (here and here). I can’t say it’s always therapeutic to write about how thesis life is going. I can’t promise that I’ve abandoned the appealing notion of writing about literally anything except my senior thesis. But I can recognize thesis fatigue for what it is and try not to get stuck in its gloominess. Even better, with this post, I can encourage other seniors to do the same.

— Melissa Parnagian, Social Sciences Correspondent